With supermarkets and other high street giants finding they have more physical space than they need, new tie-ups between businesses are giving consumers access to unexpected products and services.
In an article for Campaign, BIO CEO Peter Veash reports on how the ‘space race’ of the big four supermarkets in the 1990s has left them with large-scale stores offering more space than they need, as lifestyle changes lead consumers to shop more frequently but for fewer items. “Large-scale bricks-and-mortar space is no longer seen to be as crucial to financial success as a slick online operation and a multitude of smaller, ‘little and often’ convenience stores.” This is leading them to look for other ways to profit from it.
Peter notes Timpson’s link-up with Sainsbury’s and Tesco, Tesco’s talks with Sports Direct, as well as Barclays' interest in becoming a click-and-collect venue for Amazon parcels and the Post Office’s move into WHSmith stores.
He comments: “This trend is a sign of huge changes in both the way people are choosing to shop and how retail brands are attempting to meet this need. But I don’t necessarily see this upheaval as the end for big supermarkets; rather as a sign that the mentality among retail bosses is shifting towards convenience and savvy partnerships over sprawling supersized stores.”
“We’re heading towards a consumer climate in which the lines between in-store and online are completely blurred – as attested to by BRC figures released just this week which show that sales in both channels are slowing.
This means that big retailers must strive for the new definition of convenience, above all else. I believe that in the coming years we can expect to see plenty more in-store concessions, as well as a greater number of retailers looking to buy smaller spaces which establish their brand presences – rather than dominate thousands of square feet.”
How’s 2017 going to look for our biggest retailers? Rebecca Crook asks Could this be the year of the high street giants? on our blog.
For further reading, see our white paper The return of the high street: how technology has created a new future for retailers.